Are LGBT people pedophiles?

Have you ever been on the dirty end of bigoted prejudice—you know, because you are THIS you automatically are THAT?
• “I don’t trust that man. He’s a Jew. You know Jews. They will do anything to make a buck off you.”
• “That woman has worked in this McDonald’s as long as I can remember. She must not care about finding a real job.”
• “He’s German. He’s stubborn. Don’t waste your time trying to reason with him.”

I could write these all day. The one that prompted this essay takes me once again to Roger Jimenez, the Baptist minister who, after the Orlando massacre, preached the worst combination of bad theology and bigoted hatred: “Are you sad that fifty pedophiles were killed today? Um, no. I think that’s great. I think that helps society. I think Orlando, Florida, is a little safer tonight. The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die. The tragedy is I’m kind of upset he didn’t finish the job, because these people are predators. They are abusers.”

What is the easiest way to note stubborn prejudice? When anyone declares something about an individual or group, which has no basis in fact, and asserts it as if it is true, it is fair to make the assessment that the speaker harbors negative suppositions and, very likely, the hatred which so often accompanies them.

Pedophiles. Predators. Abusers. From where did Jimenez get his information to make these awful assertions? He certainly did not get them from any factual reporting, such as I found by reading a number of studies on the topic, searching “profile of a pedophile.”

Among the several studies, I found this one to best represent them:
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140916142130-238758622-characteristics-and-behavioral-indicators-of-a-pedophile

In this report, the US Department of Justice provides the list it developed of characteristics and behavioral indicators of a pedophile, of which these are the top five:
1. Most often an adult male.
2. Usually married.
3. Works in a wide range of occupations.
4. Relates better to children than adults.
5. Socializes with few adults unless they are pedophiles.

As one goes through the list of twenty-two items, none of them indicates that homosexuals are prone to being pedophiles, or that pedophiles are more likely to be gay than straight. Even more, since gay marriage is so new, item two—usually married—added to item one—most often an adult male—speaks volumes about who the majority of pedophiles are: Men who are married to women.

It is not only gay men whom people like Roger Jimenez unfairly target. I have previously related the story of a trans friend who suffers the same prejudice. I will refer to this person with male pronouns because he continues to live as a male.

When, several years ago, it was his intention to transition, he informed his family. One of his children’s spouses reacted this way: “You are a pedophile and you will have no contact with our children.” To this day, my friend has not been able to see those grandchildren. He has not transitioned, continues to be married to his wife/the grandmother, interacts with his other children, and by all accounts is a fine citizen.

What is it that makes some people react in the manner of my friend’s family member and Roger Jimenez? Is it not the exact same thing as is behind those white people who think all black men are a danger to them, and those Americans who think all Muslims’ motives are suspect, and on and on and on?

It is this: Not only are you not like me, but you are so different from me that you cannot possibly be respectable.

And it is this: I am so offended by what you are, in my mind you will be the worst version of that I can imagine.

And it is this: The hatred for you which I harbor I will make known wherever I can.

The essence of human trouble is self-centeredness. In the Christian faith, we know that this self-centeredness stems from our sinful nature. The entire world can vouch for it in the simplest example witnessed in every people group, everywhere, in every age: You never need to teach a young child how to do wrong, to steal a toy from another, to cry to get his way, but you do need to teach a young child how to do right, how to share, how to behave.

From this self-centeredness comes every form of evil, including bigotry and prejudice.

We really fight the urge to treat others the way we want them to treat us, and when a person or group offends us not only is the desire to fulfill the Golden Rule squelched but we easily and quickly give ourselves permission to put the worst construction on their lives.

That’s the way it is. It does not excuse it. It lets no one off the hook. It only explains it.

Hopefully, understanding it, we can combat it. As one of my trans friends says—this has quickly become my own mantra—when you get to know a trans person, it is hard to hate or be afraid of trans people.

You can change “trans” to whatever you want, whomever it is in your life which drives your own xenophobia, which is the fear of the unknown.

Finally, if you are a Christian and are espousing bigoted hatred, you are giving a bad name both to Jesus Christ and to every Christian who works hard to live the Golden Rule. If this is you, you are a hypocrite who is in need of looking into the mirror and repenting of your sin.

The Good News is that Jesus Christ has taken and borne your sin and given you His Holy Spirit that you know the Lord’s love AND possess the ability to practice it.

Is God punishing LGBTs?

earth globe facing asia with sun halo

I began work on this piece on Monday, then let it sit. At that time I had written these two paragraphs:

I am amazed that I have heard no conservative Christian leader declaring that the massacre at Pulse in Orlando was God’s punishment upon LGBT people. Indeed, so expectant was it that I even did an Internet search in a hunt for it.

The reason I expected it is because of the number of times it has happened. The one that always stands out is hurricane Katrina. That it hit New Orleans, some Christian leaders said, was God’s judgment on the city because it had become a den of iniquity.

I stopped there, deciding I did not want to write about something that, hopefully, would be a non-issue. Sadly, it became an issue.

After the magnanimous minister, Mark Wingfield, with his “Seven Things I am Learning about Transgender People” gave a good name to Baptists, a prig of a pastor, Roger Jimenez, has done his best to besmirch the same name. In a sermon, which has now been removed from YouTube because of, well, you’ll see, he said, “Are you sad that fifty pedophiles were killed today? Um, no. I think that’s great. I think that helps society. I think Orlando, Florida, is a little safer tonight. The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die. The tragedy is I’m kind of upset he didn’t finish the job, because these people are predators. They are abusers.”

Wow, nice job there, Pastor, of spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ and perfectly describing the people who were killed.

Um, no. You were a miserably mistaken oh for two, and when we look at your theology you will drop to oh for three.

It will come as no surprise that Jimenez would next say the thing that I had been waiting for some religious bigot to promulgate: “You don’t mourn the death of them. They deserve what they got. You reap what you sow.”

There it is: “They deserve what they got.” It’s another way of saying, “God was punishing them.”

Did these forty-nine people deserve to be gunned down? According to the Word of God, every person who dies “deserves what he gets.”

• “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die (Genesis 2:17).”
• “The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).”
• “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).”

Were those forty-nine people sinners, whose lives were unjustly taken from them? Yes. They were sinners because they were humans.

Here is correct theology: We all are in the same boat. No one conceived from sperm and egg is able to cast the first stone, because no one is without sin. If God were in the business of punishing sinners, none of us would be here. He would have smite us at the first chance.

The only One who could have cast the first stone, because He was without sin, chose not to throw stones but to freely lay down His life so that we might possess the forgiveness of all of our sins, the gift of eternal life, and salvation from death, devil, and damnation.

How do I know—how can I be bold to insist—that I am positive that God was not punishing those who were killed at Pulse, or those who died in Katrina, or any other situation that might arise? The Bible tells me so. (Emphases are mine.)
• “God was reconciling THE WORLD to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them (2 Corinthians 5:19).”
• “[Christ] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of THE WHOLE WORLD (1 John 2:2).”
• “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. ALL we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—EVERY ONE—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us ALL (Isaiah 53:4-6).”

These facts inform me that when God says that He “wants all to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4),” He is telling the truth. The only crazy thing about the Lord is that “He has committed to us His message of reconciliation (the sentence which follows what I previously quoted from 2 Corinthians 5:19).”

None of this conversation is to ignore any behavior which the Lord condemns.  Rather, it is to acknowledge that every one of us has behaviors which the Lord condemns.  ALL humans sin in thought, word, and deed. We all have ways of justifying our behavior, creating a ten commandments which suits us. None of us can deny it.  Thus, if our manner of proclaiming God’s Word is going to be one of condemning sinners, the place to begin is at home.

With the black-and-white-ness of all of this—that all are sinners who deserve God’s wrath, and that Christ took all of God’s wrath on behalf of us sinners—how shall we live?

Instead of using our mouths to condemn, let us employ them to encourage.

Instead of pointing fingers, let us use our hands to embrace our fellow man.

Instead of declaring things that God Himself does not declare, let us proclaim the thing that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself declared: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him (John 3:16-17).”